Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 12:1-8
For the remainder of our time in Kings, we will examine the life of a different king of Judah or Israel each week. Remember Judah was the Southern Kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital and Solomon’s temple as its center of worship. Israel was the Northern Kingdom. Samaria was the capital city, with Bethel and Dan as centers of worship. Judah was always ruled by a descendent of King David; Israel had nine different dynasties during its 200 year existence. The fortunes of both kingdoms rose and fell, depending upon whether or not their kings served God faithfully. Both kingdoms were eventually conquered by outside forces.
Today let’s look at one of Judah’s better kings— Joash (or Jehoash). After his father’s untimely death, Joash’s grandmother had the entire royal family killed so she could rule in her son’s place. Joash was an infant when his father died. Fortunately, he was hidden by his aunt and uncle for six years. This uncle—Jehoiada—was a prominent priest, and instructed Joash in the ways of the Lord. Finally, when Joash was seven, his uncle revealed his existence to the people by placing him in a prominent place in the Temple. The people immediately acknowledged him as the rightful king, and his wicked grandmother was executed.
Joash reigned over Judah for forty years. This was the same length of time that Solomon reigned, which is notable because the most significant accomplishment of Joash’s tenure was the repair of Solomon’s Temple. The Temple was over 130 years old by this point. It had been neglected during the years of Joash’s grandmother, who like her father Ahab worshipped Ba’al. Joash directed that certain monies given by the people for the military census, for vows, and for voluntary offerings be used to repair the Temple. The priests, however, held onto the money. Joash took over the project, and personally saw that the work was done.
Joash is described as righteous. He did what was “right in the eyes of the Lord” for as long as his uncle was alive to advise him. In spite of Joash’s faithfulness, his story did not end well. Temple restoration was cut short when Joash was forced to pay tribute to Hazael, king of Syria. He had to turn all the gold and silver in the Temple and palace over to Hazael to avoid war. Once Syria paid tribute to Judah—now the situation was reversed. In the end, Joash was assassinated by his own cabinet! The lesson of Joash’s life is that even if we are obedient, we may not see the “glory days” in our lifetime. We are not called to be successful but faithful.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
When was the last time you worked really hard on a project, only to have it fall apart or not work out the way you planned? Do you feel it was a complete waste, or did you learn anything from it?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?